Tiliqua Rugosa Asper

Tiliqua Rugosa Asper

This little fella is also known as Shingleback and he is found in the arid and semi-arid areas of eastern Australia. The Shingleback’s habitat does not reach the eastern coast. The other three subspecies of Tiliqua Rugosa are found in the State of Western Australia.

The Shingleback is slow moving
The Shingleback is slow moving


The images with this post show the Shingleback is:
• Heavily armoured
• Slow moving
• Short with a wide stumpy tail
• Blue tongued
The Shinglebacks colouring varies from cream to dark brown.

Tail shaped like the head to confuse predators
Tail shaped like the head to confuse predators

Common names:

The Shingleback is commonly known as
• Two-Headed Skink,
• Stump-Tailed Skink,
• Bogeye,
• Bobtail,
• Sleepy Lizard and
• Pinecone Lizard.
I think Shingleback and Pincone Lizards are my favourites!

Common name is Pinecone Lizard
Common name is Pinecone Lizard

Defense Mechanisms

Adult Shinglebacks are 26 to 31 cm long. They have a heavy body for their length. Their legs are short and it is difficult for them to lift and move their body.

Dingos and snakes may predate on these lizards but the greatest threat is feral cats, foxes and dogs, and being struck by vehicles.

These lizards need to sun themselves and sometimes choose road and road verges.

The Shingleback uses three defence mechanisms namely their:
• Armoured body
• Tail resembles their head to confuse predators, and
• Threat response
The Shingleback does not have autotomy. This means unlink many lizards and skinks it cannot shed or discard an appendage to escape a predator.

I was fortunate at this sighting to capture the threat response vividly.

Shingleback threat response
Shingleback threat response


Shinglebacks are omnivores. This Shingleback was sighted in early spring when he was sunning himself. They spend much of their time foraging for preferred food including insects, vegetation and flowers.


The Shinglebacks tail contains fat reserves for Brumation.
During research for this post I found this word – BRUMATION
Well it turns out Brumation is like hibernation but different metabolic process are involved.
Shinglebacks are reptiles. Brumation is triggered by dropping temperatures and reducing hours of daylight. Shinglebacks will wake during brumation to drink water but they will go months without food. The length of brumation depends on temperature and the condition of the reptile.


Shinglebacks are viparous – wow here is a third new term! That means they do not lay eggs. Instead the embryo develops in the mother leading to a live birth. A typical brood is 1 to 4 offspring relatively large given the size of the mother.


These lizards are monogamous and their pairing extends beyond the breeding season. Pairs return to each other for many years.

Family Life

Offspring stay with their parents for several months. Parents share the parenting duties. The male acts as look out. When the offspring leave they will stay near as part of a colony of closely related members.

I love the Shinglebacks blue tongue. There are other species of blue tongue lizards in Australia which I will show you – as soon as I catch them on film.

By Amanda Jackson

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